Wednesday, June 11, 2014

David Meredith Presents THE REFLECTIONS OF QUEEN SNOW WHITE Blitz & Giveaway

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

By David Meredith

What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White. 

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1.  How did you come up with the idea for Snow White's life after her HEA? (Which was brilliant, BTW)
I originally came up with the idea in 2006 when I wrote it as a short story. That year had been fairly traumatic. In the space of about four months both of my grandfathers died as well as one of my wife’s grandfathers and one of her grandmother’s, so there were a lot of funerals going on at the same time. Particularly in the case of my maternal grandfather, his death was really hard because it was sudden and unexpected. More than simple grief at his passing though, I was struck by the reaction of my surviving grandmother. They had been married over sixty years and had never loved anyone else having married right after high school. They had been vital and immutable pieces of each other’s lives for over two thirds of the time they had been on this planet. Now their life together was over. It led me to thinking – if your life has been so thoroughly intertwined with that of another person for so long what do you do next? How do you move on? I think that was the original kernel of an idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
2.  After such a fantastic debut novel, can we expect more Romantic Fantasy from you? Is there another "after the HEA" in the works?
Sort of… I write a lot of cross genre fiction and I almost always include at least some sort of fantastic element. I’ve got a couple of projects going at the moment, but the one that is most likely to get released next is the first installment of an epic fantasy series that I started way back in 2004. It is based, rather than upon the medieval European model that is so prevalent in modern fantasy literature, instead on Japanese folklore, myth, and legend and borrows heavily from my experiences living in Northern Japan for nearly a decade. The title of the first installment is Shirobara Falls and I hope to release it either late this year or early next year. It’s not a romance per se, but there is a romantic subplot. Here is the series synopsis:
On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Emperor in the neighboring barony.
At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.
In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsuné  fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.
3.  Has the road to publishing been difficult or not?
My attempts at traditional publishing were not very successful and also extremely frustrating. I would go into meticulous detail to put together my submission packets according to the iconoclastic stipulations of each individual publisher and then launch them into a seeming void – often waiting six months or more for a response and then always yet another rejection. It is the sort of experience that can really make you question whether or not you are wasting your time, whether or not you are even good enough to make an attempt at getting published, but there among the reams of form rejection letters I received maybe a half dozen of what I would call “good rejections”. These rejection letters were personalized, contained helpful advice, but more than that stated that my work was indeed of quality and creativity, they just didn’t have a slot for it.
What I came to understand is that traditional publishers are exceptionally risk averse. Publishing and distributing a book is expensive and they what to be confident that they will get their money back. For that reason, most traditional publishers, especially large publishers, only want to deal with known quantities – known, experienced authors with demonstrated monetary success, reliable titles and themes that have already been tried out and sold well, etc. Most just simply aren’t willing to take a risk on an unknown author, especially if you produce something that is really avant garde, different, or otherwise outside of literary genre norms.
Once I actually self-published however, even though it was an enormous amount of work, I found it infinitely more satisfying. I was actually getting my work into the hands of readers and by and large they seemed to like it. It certainly presents challenges. If I don’t spend a lot of time and effort trying to market my work, no one will know about it, but this also seriously cuts into my writing time and I find it challenging to produce new work. I suppose in the end, I am pleased with the experience so far, but I haven’t totally given up on the traditional route either.
4.  When an author publishes a book, they are essentially baring their heart and soul to the world and reviews can make or break your spirit, if you let them. How do YOU use the reviews to your benefit?
On the one hand, reviews are VITAL to marketing. Understandably, readers are reluctant to lay out their hard earned cash for a title and author they know nothing about. Reviews help you connect with more potential readers in an environment where many if not most of those reading the review are going to be positively dispensed towards maybe giving you book a read. Secondly, reviews can be a barometer (albeit a pretty harsh one) of your success at story telling (or lack thereof). Although no one likes getting negative reviews, if you are open to criticism and objective in your thinking, you can use those critiques to inform your later writing. I think it is important for authors to realize that any review is just one person’s opinion and are really only useful in aggregate. You can’t be all things to all people (even bestselling authors like Stephen King and JK Rowling have one-star reviews in the THOUSANDS for some of their work). The trick is separating mere issues of taste from real problems with your writing. No author is going to be able to create something that everyone loves. However, having said that, if you keep reading review after review that brings up a lot of the same complaints, it should serve as a pretty strong indicator that you should consider doing something differently in your next work. Finally, the good reviews give you a pretty significant high along with a pleasant boost to your ego and really make you feel like what you’ve sunk so much time into creating is worthwhile. It really makes you want to keep at it.
  5.  Tell us THREE things about you that you want to share! (Can be anything, something that isn't in your bio already)
I’ve been a swim coach off and on for nearly twenty years. I performed in a taiko drumming group while I was in Japan and I actually got to where I like eating natto (Japanese fermented soy beans).
Thanks so much for having me! I hope all of your readers will check out The Reflections of Queen Snow White right away. It is available now on Amazon in the Kindle store. Thanks again!

 David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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  1. Love reading? There are some great and interesting books out just in time for summer.